News from Local Congregations
This column includes information sent to us from a variety of groups. Servants News does not necessarily agree with the teachings or practices of these groups. Please ask about them before attending their functions.
This section is for short articles or letters about activities of local congregations. We will mention local congregations as they form or as we learn of significant news. Groups listed in this section may have some doctrines or policies which we cannot justify from the scriptures, but we believe most of them are a reasonable place for fellowship with the brethren. We believe the holy spirit will guide you in your fellowship decisions if you will study and ask.
Everyone is invited to hear the Building Bridges guest speaker Norman Edwards at 10:30 A.M. on the Sabbath of January 23, 1999. The meeting will be followed by a question & answer session, a potluck, and evening fellowship.
Building Bridges is not a church. Its goal is to book speakers that people in the Phoenix, Arizona area would like to hear. It holds meetings once per month and is intended only as a supplement to Sabbath services. The organizers represent a variety of corporate and independent congregations. Previous speakers have been Ron Weinland, Dave Havir and Ray Wooten. Ron Dart is scheduled for February 6 and Jim Rector for some time in March.
Location: North Town Meeting Hall, 2202 Waltann Ln, Phoenix. For overnight housing or more information, call Wayne Speed at 602-465-0418 or Jon Pike at 602-759-6606.
— Claudia Speed
The Canadian Church of God is organizing a midwinter spiritual refreshing weekend on January 23 and 24, 1999, to be held at a resort on a 300-acre farm near Hamilton, Ontario.
The price is a very reasonable $12.50 per person per day, and this includes one night sleep over. Each person will bring his/her own bed linens and towels. Meals are available, or you can bring your own. For more information, call Dennis Horlick at 905-831-6308 in evenings, or the CCG office at 416-531-9701.
Sponsor: Canadian Church of God; PO Box 476; Don Mills Station; Don Mills, Ontario M3C 2T4; Canada.
On a pleasant sunny Sabbath, Dec. 12, 1998, 75 to 80 people from several fellowships in central Illinois, the Chicago area, and Wisconsin gathered in suburban Oak Brook to hear guest speaker Dave Havir, pastor of the United Church of God, Big Sandy. After a brief description of the outreach work the Big Sandy congregation is performing, Mr. Havir gave a sermon on the topic of "Two Pillars of Truth". The first pillar involves the understanding of what the church is, a spiritual organism, not any one corporate organization. All who have God’s Spirit are part of Christ’s body. The second pillar is an understanding of what a minister is. He emphasized that a minister is a helper of our joy, not one who has dominion over our faith. The rank system is not Biblical, he added, and we don’t need to ask a minister’s permission to serve God or our fellow man. Mr. Havir also said that he has no desire to build an empire, publish a magazine, or get involved in televangelism.
Following services, most of the group adjourned to the home of local pastor Ken Svehla and his wife Trisha for several hours of feasting and fellowship. This brings to mind the words of Psalms 133:1—"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity."
— Larry Evans
The Seventh Day Christian Assembly of the Church of God in Knoxville, Tennessee would like to let you know of our new web site. The address is:
Our group is composed of believers from the east Tennessee area, although we can count on guests from more distant places on a fairly frequent basis. The group is not affiliated with any organization, conference, etc. Our belief is that the Eternal works through independent bodies of believers with Jesus Christ as our head. We seek continued growth in truth, spirit, and grace and welcome all who diligently seek the face of God.
We strive to get along with those called out by God, despite our differences, with the belief that He will lead us to truth if we earnestly contend for the faith.
We invite the readers of Servant’s News to stop by our site and browse. It has just been started, but we hope to add much more information, especially in the next month. So check back often. Of course, we would love to hear your comments or answer any questions. The site has ways to get in touch with us whether it be by mail, e-mail, phone, or our favorite...a visit to our congregation during a Sabbath.
We feel that it is a blessing from the Eternal that we have been provided this new way of offering the gospel message. It has cost us no money at all, just some time. And so we encourage all brethren everywhere to look for ways to express their views in a positive, productive, and efficient way, so that people can access information that will help them in their daily walk. We truly believe that this spreading of information will strengthen the faith of the saints. Information that is open to the public and not hidden in secret in a file cabinet at headquarters, or in the minds of a few "qualified" leaders will be subjected to thought and discussion and the truth will emerge just as iron sharpens iron.
— Brad Dunn
The Bible Sabbath Association is looking for part-time editors for its Sabbath Sentinel magazine. It has a continuous 50-year existence with many fine articles by various Sabbatarians on a range of topics. It has had a subscription price in the past, but will soon be offered free of charge. If you would like to help, even if it is just working on one or two issues per year, please contact Richard Nickels; 3316 Alberta Dr; Gillette, WY 82718-6217; phone 307-686-5191.
Decades ago, almost any TV ministry that preached prophecy would attract an audience. Prophecy preaching was rare in the days when many people looked to science to solve the problems of the world. Now, most people can read about prophecy in their local paper. Articles have appeared in many papers, big and small. We quote from an article entitled Apocalypse Now? from the Dallas Morning News, October 24, 1998:
Sherman Sims walked out of Prestonwood Baptist Church one night, a four-page outline called "The Future Program of God" in his hand. The topic was the end of the world.
He was one of 3,000 people who’d gone to the Far North Dallas church to hear what some Christians believe the Bible says about the end times. Though Mr. Sims struggled to follow the discussion of tribal wars, the European Union, the stock market, and how it all fits into God’s plan, the architect from Duncanville was clear about the message. "You’ve got to be prepared," Mr. Sims said.
For six weeks this fall, large crowds are flocking to a Bible conference sponsored by the Dallas Theological Seminary. Hand-holding young couples with children, retirees, physicians in scrubs, teenagers and business people wearing pagers—they’re all here looking for answers.
In the waning days of the millennium, apocalyptic interest is at an all-time high. Christian bookstores are selling books with such titles as End-Time Visions: The Road to Armageddon? and Final Dawn Over Jerusalem. Producers of a new evangelical video called Apocalypse promise to shake believers and save souls. In one survey, 20 percent of Americans said the Second Coming will happen around 2000.
[large section omitted]
Since the 1970s, in part because of Mr. [Hal] Lindsey’s work, these beliefs have seeped into popular books, movies and television.
According to a 1994 survey, Dr. Wojcik said, 61 percent of Americans believe Jesus will return; 44 percent believe in the Battle of Armageddon; 49 percent believe an Antichrist will arise; and 44 percent believe in the Rapture.
Such ideas are comforting, he said, because they help people believe history is following a specific path.
If Sabbatarians are going to reach the world with a prophetic message, we must stand out. We need more than a general message or the setting of dates that do not come to pass. We, like Daniel (Dan 2:28), need to ask the Eternal to reveal the meaning of prophecies to us.
— Norman S. Edwards
The Congregation of YHWH observed the Feast Of Tabernacles at Ft. Walton Beach, Florida. The weather was wonderful for the entire Feast providing plenty of time for fellowship and rejoicing before YHWH. It was so convenient to have the meeting rooms in the same hotel as many were staying allowing much more time to studying, sharing and really being "together". There were many interesting and thought provoking sermons, Bible studies, and seminars on a wide variety of topics. On Thursday night we had a great fun show. Other events included some brethren going on a deep sea fishing expedition and bringing back a great catch. The fish were cooked just outside the meeting rooms and eaten with home cooked hush puppies and all the trimmings. There were classes and activities for the youth. Finally, one of the most exciting events was the immersion of 28 people. We watched one elder immerse his own daughter which was very special and touching.
Of special interest was a congregational presentation of calendar issues covering a culmination of much research by many men and women. The purpose and intent of the calendar study is/was to understand the scripturally defined calendar and the specific times (Feast Days, or the Hebrew word "mow’eds") YHWH commanded in Scripture by YHWH to be observed.
There was basic agreement on several key calendar items:
1. It was agreed that neither the Jews, nor any man, has ever been given the authority to set up their own calendar or to pick and choose which days are commanded to be observed, period.
2. The Postponement Rules of the Jews were rejected as non-scriptural.
3. That the only accepted authority defining a calendar is YHWH and His inspired Word.
The study material was made available, upon request, to anyone who wanted to study the issue further. This research is still available, upon request, and is totally open to scrutiny.
We believe we share in the understanding of all who worship and serve YHWH, the Father, that we all are to prove all things and live our faith. The bottom line is that our Father has given us instructions on how to live and is the final judge. These points were the basic premise for the calendar study. The entire congregation agreed to set aside a day for a voluntary fast for the purpose of asking YHWH for His guidance in understanding His will and His truth on calendar questions. An announcement was made, contingent upon any new insight, that many would be observing the Feast one month later than the Jews in 1999. Everyone was encouraged to study the issue for themselves and make their own individual choice.
— Marv & Renetta Wilson